Recently Featured Essays:  

Trouper

by Amanda Forbes Silva

        I stretch on tiptoes to inspect the choices behind the glass. Although I am only six years old, I already know my passion—chocolate chip. Besides, the Northville A&P doesn’t have as many choices as Custard Time, so there aren’t any new flavors to distract me from the tried and true combination of chocolate flakes folded into vanilla ice cream. Mom pulls a ticket from the deli counter while I wait for my cone. 

        I am the oldest child and the only one who can help Mom run errands. For that, she treats me to an ice cream cone before we scan the aisles for Similac, diapers, and dinner ingredients. A single scoop is a nickel and I can already feel the coin in my palm growing warm and sweaty.

        “Here y’are.” The man behind the counter extends the treat towards me, and I can tell the scoop is just barely balancing against the edges. I hand him the nickel, eager to cup the cone with both hands, determined to fix the wiggle with a quick push of my tongue. 

        “Say ‘thank you’,” Mom reminds me.

        “Thank you.” I repeat, turning toward the shopping cart. I’m ready to help Mom find everything on the list, which is long, and we have more errands to run after this.

        I take two steps away from the counter, trying to secure the scoop in place with my tongue. I fail, feeling the mound tilt. In an instant, a dripping chocolate chip flower blooms on the scratched linoleum by my toes. 

Read: "Trouper"

 

Trousseau

by Lisa Richter

My father has collected us from our scattered lives to huddle here with him. We are in the family home, in the basement, the den of my childhood. My older sister, Lori, stands to my right, my younger sister, Lynn, to my left. We fall into position unconsciously. This is the way it's always been. In countless family photos and events we stretch our smiles, eldest to youngest, me pressed between.

He sets a deep box before us. The aged thick cardboard is embossed with a bronze hue. Paper peels at its edges; dust stripes its lid. Hutzlers, the logo says, a once glitzy Baltimore department store now defunct.

A tabletop fan whirs on a steady swing. A dull, flat light falls from the ceiling bulbs and is sucked into the concrete. The floor is thickly painted to keep the dust down. Anchor straps on the storage shelves keep the danger at bay. Bars on the window keep the bad out.

Read: "Trousseau"

 

 

 

 

 

Existential River

by Daniel W. Weinrich

            “You don't drown by falling in the water;

             you drown by staying there.”

The headlines today told of how somebody went missing in the Snake River. I’m not sure if there was alcohol involved, but there’s a damn good likelihood someone was stewed to the gills when they hit the water and sank to the bottom. The message gets repeated. “Don’t drink and boat, or don’t drink and swim, or don’t drink and drive and so on.” In spite of the warning, people still decide to take nasty risks.

A few years ago, a guy I knew, a drinker and a non-swimmer, climbed on a rubber raft to float the frigid water of the Snake River with four other people. Ready for the party, they also dragged along two ice chests full of beer. Oh, and no life vests.  

I can hear them now: “Life vests are for pussies.”

A beer fell off the raft and my friend dived in after it.

Fast forward twelve hours when search and rescue dragged the river for his body.

Here’s something: Instead of having to pull old dental records to identify his body, he owned one distinguishing mark. “Existentialist” was tattooed in big block letters on his back.

Read: "Existential River"

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